Depression. A word I’ve only ever heard openly discussed in conversation in my adult life. A diagnosis my father acknowledges, but believes teenagers abuse in order to gain attention as a product of one too many YouTube videos. An idea I’ve never fully put into words, especially for so many strangers on the Internet, not because I’m scared (even though I am) but because I still don’t fully understand it myself. Can depression be stripped down to something as simple as sadness? Or, must it be more all-consuming in order to warrant the appropriate label? I know that sometimes when I sit alone in my thoughts for too long, I feel an immense wave of inadequacy. That no aspect of my myself seems good or worthy enough, and I begin to question my purpose in the world. In time, that feeling passes, and I soon find things to like about myself again. Was that depression, however fleeting the moment? Or, can I excuse it as too much time on Instagram?
I also know that depression was one of the many labels a psychiatrist gave to a very dear friend when she began to express that she couldn’t turn off the negative thoughts in her brain, that she hated who she was and wanted to kill herself. She’s grown so much since then, and she has medication that she says makes her feel so much better, and she’s here. But, she still struggles. I can’t help but wonder, even when I see her laughing or crushing a wedding speech or making a joke at my expense: Is she still depressed?
This is the moment where I would typically lead with “the truth is…” But, are there ever any whole truths about depression? How long it stays. What causes it. If it will ever come back. If it was ever really there to begin with. I think that’s what makes depression so big and almost bittersweet. It can be crippling to feel so alone. And, the only way to feel more understood is through opening up about your experience in hopes that someone will connect to it, or at least want to try. If you don’t already have that in your life (or maybe you do) I hope that Bleu can always be that space for you. Reading the comments here has helped me navigate so many things — from what I need to be buying at Walgreens to dealing with anxiety. So, today I thought I’d open to floor once again: Do you or someone you know struggle with depression? How do you recognize it? In what way has it seeped into your world? What helps?